Monday, November 11, 2013

Foodie Week: Gluten Free Money Saving Tips

Welcome to Foodie Week on the Northeast Bloggers Network!  All this week we will be featuring special guest posts from our Food/Cooking bloggers!  Join the fun by reading, commenting and sharing their post!

Today's post comes to us from Jessica of the blog Gluten Free Boston Girl!

9 Gluten Free Money Saving Tips
written by Jessica Dennis, Gluten Free Boston Girl

Gluten free products are notoriously expensive. A box of gluten free pasta often costs twice as much as whole-wheat pasta, and if you go to a restaurant and order the gluten free pizza, it will likely run you an extra dollar or two.

But the good news is that there are lots of easy ways to cut the costs of a gluten free diet. Here are some of my money saving tips on how to live a gluten free lifestyle without breaking the bank.

1.      Stock up during sales.  If something is on sale and you know you will use it then stock up and buy more now. Most dry goods (cereals, crackers and chips) have an expiration date of least 6 months (if not greater than one year from) the time of purchase. When my favorite foods are on sale I always buy extra. This is also true for canned goods and frozen products. Stores like Ocean State Job Lob and the Christmas Tree Shop often sell gluten free products for considerably less than grocery stores, especially during big sales. Gluten Free Deals and Gluten Free Saver are also great sites to check out for money saving gluten free deals.

2.      Buy in bulk. If you eat something all the time consider ordering it in bulk to save money.  Buying grains, nuts, seeds and flours in bulk is less expensive in the long run than buying the smaller packages. For example, a 32 oz. Bag of Stop & Shop Brown Rice costs $2.49 ($.08/oz) compared to a 14 oz box of Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice that costs $2.39 ($.17/oz) or 8.5 oz. of a package of Seeds of Change Brown Rice that costs $3.79 ($.45/oz). Other staples you should buy in bulk include nuts, seeds, beans, and flours. You can buy them in bulk at many grocery stores, BJ’s, Costco’s and online at Amazon and The Gluten Free Mall. Ethnic grocery stores are also great places to find discounted prices on rice, flours and pastas. 

3.      Eat more naturally gluten free foods. There are countless foods that are naturally gluten free including fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, poultry, meat, beans, seeds, legumes and nuts. These simple, wholesome foods are better sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats than processed gluten free foods. Many whole grains, including rice, corn, quinoa, millet and buckwheat are also gluten free. Buying fruits and vegetables in season, is generally less expensive than other times of the year and will help you save substantial amounts of money. If you have the space consider growing your own vegetables and herbs to save even more on fresh produce. 

4.      Eat less processed foods. A majority of processed foods lack essential vitamins and nutrients. When I first started a gluten free diet I went nuts (no pun intended) trying all the different gluten free products out there on the market. Unless you love something, just skip it all together. Or if you must buy it, try to reduce the frequency in which you purchase these items. I’m not saying that you have to deprive yourself, but just think twice: does the taste and quality of the food really justify such a high cost?

5.      Make your own gluten free foods when possible. Gluten free brownie mixes can cost upwards of $6/box and the prepackaged version can cost as much as $10! Savings can be substantial when you make your own baked goods and breads. Even making your own hummus cost less per ounce than buying a tub in the grocery store. Another advantage of making your own food is that you control the flavor and ingredients you are using. Homemade products taste better, are healthier and have better quality ingredients than their packaged processed counterparts. 

6.      Dine-in more often. Eating out can be expensive in general and many restaurants will charge anywhere from $1-$4 extra for gluten free bread or pizza crust. Dining in is a much more economical choice. If you want to eat out, and lets face it, who doesn’t, then try to find a deal through groupon, livingsocial and other deal sites. I post gluten free products deals, restaurant deals and other online special offers daily on my website here. Many restaurants also offer deals on off nights, and you should try to take advantage of those discounts whenever possible. 

7.      Use coupons. There is no shame in handing the cashier a pile of coupons (trust me, I do it all the time). Check your favorite blogs and gluten free brands’ websites and facebook pages for money saving coupons. Grocery stores, like Whole foods and Stop & Shop, offer weekly and monthly coupons for all kinds of products; yogurt, cereal, beverages, cleaning products, etc. Take advantage of these savings whenever possible. But just remember, just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to buy it. You may end up spending more money on items you wouldn’t necessarily buy just because you have a coupon. 

8.      Plan Meals Ahead of time. Planning your weekly meals before going to the grocery store will help you save time and money. Planning your meals allows you to make the most of what you spend. Buying ingredients that can be used for different meals, such as ground turkey or ground beef for chili and tacos is a great example of how to make the most of one ingredient. And Cooking extra for leftovers to have for the next day’s lunch or snack will also help you cut costs on your food spending. More than 1/3 of our food is wasted each year (source: UNRIC). Getting creative with leftovers will help eliminate wasted food and help curb your spending.

9.      Deduct gluten-free expenses on your taxes. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease you may be able to receive tax deductions for expenses associated with gluten free foods and products. See for more information.

I hope these tips and strategies help you save a bundle. If you have any money-saving tips I’ve missed I’d love to hear them! Please share them in the Comments section below.  For gluten free recipes, products and list of restaurants check out Gluten Free Boston Girl!

Thanks Jessica for being our very first Foodie Week feature!  Please be sure to check out her blog for more Gluten Free ideas!  Hope to see you back here tomorrow for the continuation of Foodie Week!

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  1. Great tips! My sister eats gluten free and I always thought it would be a more expensive grocery bill. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. we keep GF in my home and I have never thought of these Ideas.. Thank you

  3. My sister has Celiac & I am wheat intolerant. All of your tips are great! I've found doing my own cooking is definitely my best best, thankfully I love to cook!



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